iOS 16 and macOS Ventura will let users bypass CAPTCHAs on supported apps and websites

Humza

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Not a bot: With the launch of iOS 16 and macOS Ventura later this fall, Apple users will be relieved of having to identify parts of a bicycle or a crosswalk when accessing some apps and websites. This is being made possible with Automatic Verification, a security feature that will use iCloud to privately verify iOS/macOS users in the background and bypass the need for solving CAPTCHAs.

Apple's new security feature arriving with iOS 16 and macOS Ventura is based on a Private Access Token system, which essentially lets Apple attest the legitimacy of a user while respecting their privacy and grants them access to CAPTCHA-protected apps and websites. MacRumors reports Automatic Verification is present and enabled by default in the first betas of iOS 16 and iPadOS 16.

Developed with Cloudflare and Fastly, CDN platforms that power millions of websites and apps globally, Private Access Tokens won't be limited to just Apple devices, as Google is also onboard in standardizing the technology. However, iPhone and Mac beta users are the first to get the auto verification experience with the latest beta builds of these operating systems.


Apple's Private Access Token demonstration shows iOS 16 bypassing CAPTCHA on FT's website

In Fastly's detailed blog covering this tech, the company notes that this CAPTCHA alternative won't require any human interaction and will respect user privacy. Instead of a user proving their legitimacy by solving a puzzle in order to sign in or access an app/website, a third-party (Apple in this case) will act as an attester and will request a token from an issuer on the user's behalf after privately verifying their device via iCloud.

The token issuer won't see any private user information, and neither will the website/app being visited, with the latter only requiring a valid user token for granting access. Automatic Verification will also work over VPNs and with Apple's iCloud Private Relay.

As with Cupertino's passkeys authentication feature, which is another step towards a more accessible web, Automatic Verification will also be limited to Apple devices that can run iOS 16 and macOS Ventura. This means iPhone 8/SE 2 and later for iOS, and Macs built later than 2017 or 2018 for macOS Ventura.

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